I’m not a Missoni fan. I’m only begrudgingly a Target shopper. I, therefore, was not queued up at six this morning to buy the Missoni for Target line like so many apparently were.
I’ve read several articles on the ensuing madness, which dovetail with Twitter and Facebook status reports from friends: elbows flying, lines out the door, shopping carts piled high, people running through the aisles. In short, total retail chaos on par with Black Friday.
What really amuses me is the common theme in comments that Target somehow failed with this whole project, and should have limited people to only a small number of items, since clearly people were buying as much as they could to re-sell on Ebay.
This is not idle speculation—at this very moment, Ebay lists over 10,500 items if you query “missoni for target.”
Kim from SoCal, commenter #27 in the New York Times’s Bits column, writes:
I showed up to my store at 8:15 (after not being able to get to the website for more than a few seconds at a time) to find EMPTY racks. Eventually I found about 6 items by hanging out near the dressing room and taking other people’s rejects. ;-p But it was pretty disturbing to see people who clearly had just piled everything they could get their hands on into several loaded carts–I think Target should have had a 2-per person limit for each item. No one needs that many duplicate sweaters unless they’re reselling on ebay.
I think Kim and a few others are confusing capitalism with a system that cares about fairness and access for all people.
I’m particularly amused by JM from NJ, # 25:
I’d bet that 95% of those eBay sellers are Target employees who bought the stuff before it left the stock room. It’s the same with every single “hot” or limited collection item, everywhere. I suppose if I made $12 an hour and saw a way to make a quick killing selling something at a huge mark-up from retail that I bought with my employee discount, I’d be tempted to do it, too.
Several former Target employees quickly pointed out that employees are not able to buy anything from the stock room, but must wait for it to hit the floor and be on break before they can buy. They also pointed out that $12 an hour would have been a lovely wage to receive, but was certainly a number they’d never seen reflected in a paycheck.
How many people who angrily declared they’d never return to Target after the company’s political contributions to anti-gay politicians were made public stood in line this morning for the chance to buy this stuff?
And how many people who are huffing and puffing about how Target should have imposed limits will line up the next time a designer collaboration is launched, and won’t think twice about going over the 2-item-per-shopper limit if given the opportunity?
As far as evaluating the success or failure, I’m guessing Target sees today largely as a win. Gee, selling out all of their merchandise in one day? Free media coverage in major newspapers and networks, plus word-of-mouth blather from the shoppers who did score?
WIN for capitalism! WIN for Target! And kind of a WIN for Ebay (and Target/Ebay entrepreneurs/profiteers)! Gee … why is anyone surprised that the corporations and a limited number of individuals are coming out on top. It’s the American way, after all.